[Nameplate] Fog/Mist ~ 41°F  
High: 63°F ~ Low: 54°F
Thursday, May 5, 2016

Civility, civic duty drive city officials in starting new terms

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Taking the oath of office for a second term as mayor of Greencastle, Sue Murray is sworn in by Judge Diana LaViolette Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.
The nice thing about inviting Judge Diana LaViolette to the party is you always get a dose of humor along with some very interesting perspective.

She certainly didn't let the audience down Tuesday afternoon at the City of Greencastle swearing-in ceremony at City Hall.

The retired Putnam Circuit Court judge not only swore in Mayor Sue Murray, new Clerk-Treasurer Lynda Dunbar and five returning City Council members but she also offered a lesson in civility.

The only new member of the city administration to take the oath Tuesday was incoming City Clerk-Treasurer Lynda Dunbar.
Quoting from former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton's recent op-ed piece in the Banner Graphic, the judge echoed his frustration with the lack of civility and respect in government these days.

She noted Hamilton's five tenets underlying productive civic dialogue: Mutual respect and tolerance; the humility to know that sometimes we're wrong; the honesty to keep deliberations open and straightforward; the resolve to surmount challenges whatever the obstacles; and the civility that allows us to find common ground despite our disagreements.

"If we come to value all this, then the politicians who spring from our midst will have to as well," Hamilton suggested.

"How beautifully stated about the purpose of government," Judge LaViolette praised, "and how appropriate for the City Council of Greencastle."

She lauded Mayor Murray and the City Council for their civility as seen in person at City Hall or in action over cable access television.

"It makes me a grateful citizen," LaViolette said.

There were some overt examples of civic duty, too.

Among those assembled to take their oath of office were T.J. Smith, still on-duty and wearing his Putnam County Sheriff's Department deputy's uniform and handgun; Fire Chief Bill Newgent in spiffy dress blues for the occasion; and Public Works Director Brad Phillips in a suit and tie at 4 p.m. after starting his day in snow gear at 4 a.m.

City Council members taking the oath of office Tuesday to begin new terms were Adam Cohen, First Ward, Democrat; Mark Hammer, Second Ward, Republican; Jinsie Bingham, Third Ward, Democrat; T.J. Smith, Fourth Ward, Republican; and Phyllis Rokicki, at-large, Democrat.

Getting an early start on 2012, Mayor Murray then swore in her department heads, all of whom had previously agreed to return to their roles.

Thus, returning to take the oath of office Tuesday afternoon were City Attorney Laurie Hardwick, Police Chief Tom Sutherlin, Fire Chief Newgent, Public Works Director Brad Phillips and Forest Hill Cemetery Supt. Ernie Phillips.

City Planner Shannon Norman, Water and Wastewater Superintendent Richard Hedge and Parks and Recreation Director Rod Weinschenk were unavailable Tuesday afternoon and will be sworn in at a later date.

The mayor also swore in Board of Works member Thom Morris for another term.

New Clerk-Treasurer Dunbar also took the opportunity to conduct her first formal action at City Hall, swearing in her deputy clerk-treasurer, Pam Pierce.

The City Council is scheduled to conduct its first regularly monthly session of 2012 on Tuesday, Jan. 10, beginning a 7 p.m.

At that time the Council will elect a president for 2012 to succeed Adam Cohen, as well as determining its various board appointments for the coming year.

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on bannergraphic.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

Diana LaViolette for President!

-- Posted by HRme on Wed, Dec 28, 2011, at 8:50 AM

We at the Institute for Civility in Government applaud retired Putnam Circuit Court judge Diana LaViolette for raising the civility flag at this swearing in ceremony! Congratulations and may all other swearing in ceremonies for elected officials do the same!

-- Posted by Tspath on Wed, Dec 28, 2011, at 5:35 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: